MGM's version of Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur is just as stupid and glorious as you'd expect.
Ava Gardner is gorgeous as Guinevere, the Tintagel locations are the real Mc Coy, Lancelot (Robert Taylor) has a clever horse which saves him from quicksand and the Technicolor kirtles are truly velvety.
You wouldn't even need a huge budget – just look at some of the films in the list below.
But perhaps a blockbuster franchise is just what is needed to get the overfamiliar Arthur-Guinevere-Lancelot love triangle out of the way at an early stage, enabling more adventurous film-makers to move on to the really exciting stuff.
So Guy Ritchie is in talks to direct the first of a six-film franchise based on the King Arthur legends?
This is good news, for whereas television seems to be broadcasting a new Camelot-set mini-series every couple of months, the mythology is curiously underrepresented in the cinema.
Which is odd, considering there's enough action, romance and magic to forge a British genre equivalent to the Western, exploring landscape, history and national identity.
There's no shortage of material either, from Chrétien de Troyes and Thomas Malory to T. White, to adventures of the lesser-known knights and a full panoply of ghost ships, deadly chairs and questing beasts – all ripe for the picking."Modred" (Stanley Baker, more virile than all the rest of the knights put together) is not Morgan Le Fay's son, but her lover. White's The Once and Future King is one of the studio's most underrated animated features.Elsewhere, men poke big swords through each other's armpits, and knock over parts of Stonehenge. It's the story of 12-year-old orphan Arthur – known as Wart – in his lowly pre-Excalibur days.Vanessa Redgrave is fine as Guinevere, but Richard Harris is adorable as Arthur, telling us How to Handle a Woman in semi-Sprechstimme, and altogether sexier than Franco Nero as Lancelot. The Arthurian myths have strong links to France, and who better to suck all the colour out of the legend than gloomy French auteur Robert Bresson, who (as usual) uses an amateur cast delivering dialogue in an emotionless monotone, evoking a joyless mediaeval world in which life is short, sharp and bloody, with bagpipes.It's an uncompromising vision, not for the faint of heart; some of the extravagant bloodletting looks like a rehearsal for the duel with John Cleese as the Black Knight."Funnier than Bresson's Lancelot du Lac" wrote the Time Out reviewer – and he was right.